Kidney stones — solid masses of tiny crystals that can form in the kidneys and cause bleeding, kidney damage or ongoing urinary tract infections can be dissolved with an improved technology, known as the Sonolith i-move. Extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to treat patients with kidney stones.
New York Methodist Hospital is now using the technology, with physicians in NYMs Division of Urology, headed by Ivan Grunberger, M.D., making up the first team in the United States to use the new lithotripsy device, which offers improved results.
The new generation of lithotripter is capable of generating shockwaves with the same intensity from one firing to the next, something that older models could not do, said Grunberger. This makes the pulverization of the kidney stones more accurate, and also means that a higher number of patients will be stone-free after the first treatment.
The new lithotripter can also monitor patient movements in real time with revolutionary infrared tracking: if the patient moves slightly during the procedure, the machine locates the kidney stone and completes treatment. The extended penetration depth of the shockwaves also allows for treatment of patients who are obese.
With the added conveniences of a handheld ultrasound probe to locate the stones, and the ability to generate consistent shockwaves, we can treat lithotripsy patients with more precision and accuracy than ever before, said Grunberger. The new ESWL technology gives our urologists the ability to better target and monitor stones, ensuring better patient outcomes.
It is estimated that more than one million patients with ESWL are treated annually in the United States.